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As the culmination of its $1.4 billion “Return to Flight” effort, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Discovery into orbit. Almost immediately, the shuttle shed pieces of insulation and hit a bird. President George W. Bush watched the launch on a small television and clapped his hands, and NASA grounded all future shuttle flights.NewsdayBoston.comThe Washington PostThe Washington PostRussia offered to send a rich person to orbit the moon in exchange for $100 million.The GuardianNew Mexico announced its first case of bubonic plague in two years. “Plague,” said a New Mexico man who contracted the illness in 2002, “changes your life forever.”TheNewMexicoChannel.comThe U.S. House of Representatives voted down CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, even though it was already approved by the Senate. House leaders then held the vote open for forty-seven minutes until they had changed enough Republican votes to approve the agreement. Democracy NowA study found that 43 percent of the House and Senate members who have left public office since 1998 are registered lobbyists. Washington PostThe Boy Scout National Jamboree was held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. The Senate passed the Support Our Scouts Act of 2005, guaranteeing the Boy Scouts the right to use federal land whether the organization discriminates against atheists and gays or not. The Senate also noted that holding the Jamboree on a military base gave U.S. soldiers the opportunity to practice the “preparation, logistics, and leadership” needed in combat. At the Jamboree four scout leaders were electrocuted while setting up a tent, and three hundred people were treated for heat-related symptoms. In California, a scoutmaster and a thirteen-year-old scout were killed by lightning.CNN.comSWNebr.netWBOC16Thomas.loc.gov
American forces killed eleven Iraqi militants near Iraq’s border with Syria,BBC Newsa suicide bomber killed twenty-five Iraqi army recruits northwest of Mosul,BBC Newsa suicide bombing at a Baghdad hospital killed at least five people,BBC Newsand a bomb killed two Britons in Basra.BBC NewsIraq’s Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari called for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country; General George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that troop withdrawal could begin by spring 2006 “if the political process continues to go positively.”Democracy NowKing Fahd died.New York TimesA massive dust cloud thousands of miles across was heading from the Sahara Desert toward the United States,CNN.comand the Pentagon was stalling to avoid the release of more photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison. The videos are said to show young boys shrieking as they are anallyraped.Editor & PublisherGermanarchaeologists reconstructed a 28,000-year-old stone phallus nearly eight inches in length. There was evidence, they said, that the phallus had been used as a tool.BBC NewsPresident Bush’sfavorite dirty joke was reported to be: “The only time I ever hit two good balls is when I step on a rake.”The FixThe Senate went into recess, and George W. Bush appointed John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations.The New York TimesThe Bush Administration started referring to the War on Terror as “the global struggle against violent extremism,”Democracy Nowand Karl Rove received a $4,000 raise.Democracy Now
In New York City, subway crime dropped 23 percent in the wake of random bag searches.WNBC.comUkraine fired all of its traffic policemen; traffic was not noticeably affected.Motoring.co.zaBritish police had arrested nineteen people believed to be connected to the London bombings.BBC NewsA huge patch of ice was discovered on Mars,BBC Newsand an object possibly larger than Pluto was discovered beyond the orbit of Neptune. “Someone should have found this before,” said an astronomer.New ScientistCanada and Denmark were arguing over the claim to Hans Island, an uninhabited one-half-square-mile of land 682 miles south of the North Pole,CNN.comand ultra-nationalists in Israel held a “pulsa denura” ceremony to call on the angels of destruction to kill Ariel Sharon.HaaretzAn executive at Coca-Cola said that the company would soon start producing a soda that burns calories,Ad Weekand monsoons in India killed at least eight hundred people and scattered the carcasses of seventeen thousand goats around Bombay.BBC NewsOfficials in Senegal, concerned about the encroaching desert, were considering a proposal to plant a three-mile-wide, 4,375-mile-long wall of trees.ReutersA Nebraska man was charged with having sex with the thirteen-year-old girl whom he had wed legally in Kansas,APand a homeless man in Nashville, Tennessee, confessed to strangling two other homeless men. “I got addicted,” he explained, “to sucking the souls out of people.”Local6.comIn Pinetown, South Africa, two little boys found a fetus without legs or a head; police said that they found no animal saliva on the fetus.The MercuryKansas police took away, then returned, the left foot of an amputee named Ezekiel Rubottom, who had been keeping his foot in a bucket on a friend’s porch. “It’s all good,” said Rubottom.Lawrence Journal-WorldFlorida was infested with iguanas,St. Petersburg Timesan Australianeel nicknamed Eddie was seen swallowing a goose,Practical Fishkeepingand British zoo authorities sent a parrot into seclusion after the bird told two policemen, a mayor, and a vicar to fuck off.News.com.au
More from Paul Ford:
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Amount of laundry an average American family of four washes in a year (in tons):
A study of female Finnish twins found that relative preference for masculine faces is largely heritable.
It was reported that visits from Buddhist priests could be purchased through Amazon in Japan, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra began streaming performances through virtual-reality headsets.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”